To the Editor:
This is in response to the Times’article “N.J. home fire suppression bill decried by South Jersey builders, lauded by fire officials” on March 4:
I want to applaud local contractor Brad Harber, cited in the article, for installing sprinkler systems in his model homes to educate consumers on fire safety and prevention. I would also like to address several misconceptions about fire sprinklers that were presented in the article.
While smoke detectors are key in alerting occupants of fire, they are also a reactive form of fire protection, and can only save those who are able to react. Fire sprinklers are the only proactive form of fire protection, providing firefighters the time they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible, and helping to avoid potential tragedies and severe structural damage.
Additionally, new lightweight construction methods and materials are making it harder and more dangerous for firefighters to safely extinguish blazes and for occupants to escape safely. Most homes built within the past 20 years contain these dangerous lightweight materials. While they are touted as being more cost-effective and environmentally friendly, they also allow fires to spread much more quickly.
The legislation in question, A-1570, was passed by the Assembly in January. This bill, and a recently introduced Senate version (S-2273), would make it mandatory for all newly constructed one- and two-family homes, as well as condominiums and townhomes, to be equipped with fire sprinkler systems.
Properly installed and maintained fire sprinklers control and typically extinguish a fire before the fire department even arrives on the scene.
The average cost of the installation of a fire sprinkler system in new construction is 1.61 cents a square foot.
How prepared would you be if fire struck where you live? Fire sprinklers save lives.
New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition
Editor’s note: The New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition, which supports the legislation, is made up of fire sprinkler contractors, firefighters and other fire safety advocates.